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Not Exactly a Magic Carpet Ride...(Post #3)

When I was put into the ambulance and rushed to the hospital, the thirty-minute ride felt like an eternity. Every bump, every pothole felt like it could extend to the middle of the earth, the pain had finally subsided and all I could feel was a numbness that permeated my entire being. The inside of an ambulance is hectic, there are paramedics hooking up IV’s, checking blood pressure, stabilizing injuries, but in that moment of controlled chaos, I had an overwhelming feeling of clarity. I thought to myself, “What’s next?” I wasn’t content in knowing that I had been seriously injured and I was on my way to being “fixed”. Was I truly broken? I wasn’t thinking about my bones, all I could think was whether or not I was going to be the same person I was before I experienced this devastating turn of events.

I was always a motivated individual, and I have my parents to thank for that. They always instilled a sense of drive and determination in my sister and I since we were young. I had dreams of playing football at the next level; I was also a realist, so I understood that if I were to succeed and land a possible roster spot with a very small college team, then I would have to work. I would have to work extremely hard, nothing is guaranteed in this world, no opportunity is given lightly; we all have to put forth the effort needed to succeed. I was not the most talented, nor the most athletic, but I had an understanding for the game and more importantly, a drive that I thought could never be broken. Motivation is a tough nut to crack and to be truly intrinsically driven is very difficult. I had really trained and prepared for my second season as a Varsity football player, I took pride in putting on my high school jersey and wearing it to school on Friday’s. Having the opportunity to compete athletically is truly a gift, it is a privilege, something most young athletes do not always understand. Football was taken from me, it was not my choice, but the days of lacing them up with my teammates were over, and now I had to learn how to figure out what to do with all my built up motivation, drive and determination.

When we arrived at the hospital, those heavy ambulance doors swung open and I was rushed into the emergency room. I could hear the doctors and nurses whispering; “That looks bad” or “We need to get him into surgery right away”. After all the years of pee-wee football, and Saturday morning basketball, this was the first real injury I had ever sustained. My family and I didn’t really know what to expect so we naturally listened to the medical professionals. Due to a mix-up with my medical records, I did not have any type of pain medication during my ambulance ride, so feeling that sweet relief of morphine pumping through my veins was a welcomed sensation. As my eyes become increasingly heavy and my speech began to slur, I heard my parents both tell me that everything will be all right, everything happens for a reason and we will be here waiting on you. As a 16 year old kid, there is nothing more comforting than the support from your parents, but even I could hear the worry and pain in their voices. This was not going to be an easy surgery, the break and dislocation I suffered were very severe and the doctors had their work cut out for them.

I would love to say that while I was in surgery I had this wonderful, peaceful dream in which I saw myself under the lights on a Friday night, competing in the trenches with my teammates. But that is not my reality, and this is my real life lesson on one leg. So in all honesty, when I woke up from my surgery, I felt like crap! I was in pain and I could barely speak but all I wanted was the answer to one question; “Can I play again?” The surgeons explained that my break was very severe, and it was going to be a long road to recovery, but anything was possible. Music to my ears, I didn’t care that my leg was aching; I wanted to start physical therapy right then and there if it meant I could line up one more time with my brothers and take the field. The last thing I remember that night after surgery was the nurses and doctors putting a cast on my lower leg, but there was something odd about this seemingly simple procedure. When I came out of surgery, we noticed that I had developed two very large blood-filled blisters on each side of my ankle. We were informed that they were fracture blisters and they sometimes occur following a serious injury to the bone. I didn’t give it another thought once the cast was in place, but those blisters would end up causing much deeper wounds both physically and emotionally in the long run.

After an overnight stay in the hospital, the rising sun and fresh dew on the ground brought a new sense of understanding and a new reason to be motivated. I was wheeled out and ever so carefully made my way into my parent’s vehicle. When we pulled out of the hospital parking lot, making sure to avoid all speed bumps, I was elated to be able to go home. I knew once I got to the safety and security of my home then I could start working on my comeback plan. Unfortunately, when we got home and started to settle in, I felt a small ache in my stomach, but I thought to myself it must be all the medication, just get a good nights rest and I can be my better self tomorrow. That period of rest and relaxation did not last long, I suffered through the night and when the sun rose the next morning, I knew my comeback was going to have to be put on hold.

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